What's Behind Poor Nutrient Absorption? Malabsorption Syndrome in a Nutshell.
Nutrition is a crucial part of overall wellness, health, and fitness. We might eat a healthy diet, take the right supplements and drink pure, hydrating beverages, but all that might not matter if our digestive tract cannot absorb the nutrients we’re eating and drinking.
The problem many people overlook is nutrient absorption. We can eat all the best foods, but if our body isn't absorbing and using the nutrients from them, we're not getting the benefits. We could be experiencing some symptoms or health problems as a result.
When food enters our digestive tract, specifically our small intestine, the intestine’s role is to absorb the nutrients in the food we eat. Malabsorption syndrome occurs when something in the small intestine fails to do its job correctly. Nutrients that the small intestine often has trouble absorbing can be macronutrients (proteins, carbohydrates, and fats), micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), or both.
Malabsorption is much more common for a variety of reasons in the modern world, particularly with the decline of our overall gut health and digestion. There are many possible causes of malabsorption syndrome. The most common reasons include a poor diet, food sensitivities or food allergies, inflammation, leaky gut, intestinal trauma, surgery, or too many over-the-counter and prescription medications.
In severe cases, malabsorption may arise due to major risk factors and disease-related causes, such as celiac disease, lactose intolerance, short bowel syndrome, parasitic diseases, and diseases of the gallbladder, liver, or pancreas.
Malabsorption syndrome symptoms differ depending upon what the root cause of the problem is. However, when we are not getting nutrients or vitamins and minerals properly, certain symptoms are going to be present, regardless of the underlying cause. A lot of these signs and symptoms of malabsorption syndrome can be somewhat universal across the board, although they do differ slightly.
Some of the symptoms of malabsorption are bloating, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, distended stomach, different color stool, hair loss, and unexplained weight loss. Weakness and fatigue are also common complaints, especially if the body isn’t getting enough carbohydrates.
There are also long-term effects of malabsorption which are specific to the macro- or micronutrient that is not being absorbed, such as bone loss, a sore tongue, muscle wasting, shortness of breath, and iron deficiency anemia.
Since malabsorption syndrome is a blanket term for other disorders and conditions, it’s hard to determine the risk factors for any particular individual. Despite that, speaking in very general terms, a family history of malabsorption problems or cystic fibrosis is perhaps the most significant risk factor. Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol must also be mentioned since this profoundly disrupts liver function and can prevent nutrients from being absorbed into our bloodstream.
Other risk factors worth mentioning are antibiotic use, eating food additives that are chemicals found in processed foods, overindulging in sweets, smoking, and use of medications.
If you’re dealing with any of the above symptoms or believe you’re dealing with an intestinal absorption issue, contact a gastroenterologist in your area.
Certain tests are used to confirm the diagnosis such as stool, blood, and breathing tests. Imaging tests and biopsies might also be ordered by the physician.
Treatment will depend on the specific underlying cause. Fortunately, treatment is typically pretty straightforward once the underlying issue is determined.
Consider taking enzyme supplements. These supplements can help our body absorb the nutrients it can’t absorb on its own. For carbohydrate absorption, consider the following enzymes:
Lactase (ideal specifically for those with a lactose problem)
For protein digestion:
For digestion of fat:
Diet change is an integral part of the treatment. Some individuals may find relief by working with a dietitian who can help create a diet plan that ensures they get the nutrients they need despite their malabsorption issue. A dietitian can also explain which foods to avoid to prevent symptoms from developing.
When we’re under a lot of pressure and experiencing stress or anxiety, our body diverts blood away from our digestive system, which can slow down or block proper digestion from happening. If you want to get your digestive system back on track, learn how to unwind and reduce your stress.
Healing a leaky gut is the first step in getting our digestion back on track. It's not just about the health of the digestive system, but also about improving malabsorption syndrome. A leaky gut occurs when there are holes in the lining of our intestines and the spaces between cells get too big. This allows food particles to escape into the bloodstream, triggering an immune response from the body.
Healing a leaky gut can improve the absorption of nutrients, reduce inflammation, and improve autoimmune conditions, and malabsorption syndrome.
Replace your nutritional needs with supplementation. Intravenous(IV) vitamin therapy is a type of therapy that delivers vitamins directly into the bloodstream through a vein rather than orally.
The benefits of intravenous vitamin therapy for malabsorption syndrome include, but are not limited to:
-Rapid absorption that bypasses digestion
-No risk of digestive side effects
-Able to ensure consistent and high dose of nutrients delivery to the cells.
“He who has health has hope, and he who has hope has everything.” ~ Thomas Carlyle
Give us a call for a consultation about the benefits of IV nutritional therapy and the drips we offer.
Learn more about us here, and book an appointment at +1-224-372-3747